ProCare, a leading healthcare provider, is pleased to announce four new members to its Youth Advisory Group (YAG). The 11 young people who make up the group provide guidance to ProCare, based on lived experience, to help improve health outcomes for children and young people across Tāmaki Makaurau. The group also helps guide implementation of ProCare’s Population Health Strategy.
Dr Sue Wells, Associate Clinical Director at ProCare says: “Recent data taken from our population health needs analysis, called Our Picture of Health, shows that one in five (20%) of young people aged 15 – 24 enrolled with a general practice did not visit their GP over a two-year period.”
“Young people have specific health needs as they move through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood and are at higher risk of substance and alcohol misuse, mental health disorders, or contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The 2020 Youth2000 survey highlighted that 23% of students in the survey reported significant symptoms of depression. This has almost doubled for many groups since 2012. Symptoms are higher among female students, Māori, Pasifika and Asian students, those in lower income communities and those from sexual and gender minority groups,” she continues.
“The best people to inform us about what they need from healthcare services are young people themselves. The 11 young people in the ProCare Youth Advisory Group are from diverse backgrounds and lifestyles. Their input will help us to understand how things are for young people now, in particular young Māori and Pacific youth, and what needs to change so they can get the care they need from their local doctor or mental health service,” she concludes.
New member of the YAG, 16 year old Skyler Anderson, says: “I’m excited to be a part of the Youth Advisory Group because I'm interested in learning more about the issues that young people face and how we can address them. I am enthusiastic about these topics and aim to collaborate with like-minded individuals to improve New Zealand's mental health care system.”
The ProCare Youth Advisory Group initially started in 2020 as a pilot and has since been implemented permanently by ProCare. The group will serve for a 12-month term where young people aged between 14 and 24 will act as ambassadors for young Aucklanders by meeting regularly to provide insight into how young people think and feel about life in New Zealand, with a particular focus on how they like to interact with primary care and mental health services.
We are working closely with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, tangata whenua of central Tāmaki Makaurau to appoint a rangatahi from this rohe. Information provided by the group will help ProCare to deliver on its goal of increasing ‘Youth engagement with primary care’ as part of its Population Health Strategy.